2012 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

by Cory J. Bonini on March 2, 2012 @ 17:07:14 PDT


North Carolina outside linebacker Zach Brown will have some teams in the 2012 NFL Draft drooling over his potential. The senior is a versatile playmaker that finished the 2011 season with five games of at least 10 tackles.

Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Premier potential


  • Tremendous speed (4.50 40 time)
  • Has shown improved read-and-react skills
  • Athleticism allows him to keep up in pass coverage
  • Very productive tackler - sound, rarely misses
  • Plays just as well in the box as he does in space
  • Good enough size to become 4-3 weakside linebacker
  • All-around production (5.5 sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles in 2011)
  • Incredible upside
  • Displays good vision working his way through traffic
  • Reliable special teamer


  • Raw - in almost all facets of the game - and often relies too much on his sheer athleticism
  • Tends to over-pursue on backside or misdirection plays - play-action passing can get him to bite
  • Hardly any pass-rushing repertoire to speak of
  • Risky prospect - needs to become a football player first and an athlete second
  • While his reaction skills have improved, he isn't a naturally instinctive player
  • Probably a hair on the small side to play 3-4 outside linebacker

Expected draft placement

It seems inevitable that at least one team will fall in love with Brown's upside and not let him pass in the first round. Teams that seem most likely landing spots for him: the New York Jets (No. 16), San Diego Chargers (No. 18), Green Bay Packers (No. 28) and Baltimore Ravens (No. 29).

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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